Defending APB • Page 2

Realtime Worlds' Dave Jones hits back.

Eurogamer: Is the number of people playing the game meeting your expectations?

Dave Jones: We launched with two worlds in the US and two worlds in Europe. They're about 60 per cent full just now. But we're seeing an uptake in that. If we could fill the two worlds which we built out then we'd be quite happy. That's what we're aiming to get to. It's not that far off where we wanted to be. We know it's the kind of game that, if people get in and are enjoying it, then they tend to bring their friends in, so it's a little bit viral.

Obviously it's a group-based game. We built it to be, come and play with your friends, have a lot of fun, and that's what's happening. We've got clans of 150, we've got clans of 50. More clans are coming and they tend to bring more of their friends and their clan mates. We're doing pretty well. We've got 10,000 plus each night just now playing together. Hopefully we'll see that grow.

Eurogamer: Is that enough for Realtime Worlds in terms of sustaining APB over a long-term period?

Dave Jones: Yeah. We always viewed this as a long-term thing. We've just launched the game. There was a lot of investment in the technology and the infrastructure. But it's not the sort of game we thought, we just launch it and we're done. It's something we want to grow. There's a lot more content we have planned: different kinds of districts. That's what we're absolutely focused on, is APB.

Eurogamer: Do you expect APB to turn you a profit in the long-term?

Dave Jones: In the long-term yes, absolutely. We always knew the first thing was to get this thing launched, get all the technology in place, get a fun game in place. Just like any game really, sometimes it takes the second, maybe even the third, like GTA, before you deliver on everything you want to do. It's just about making sure we have a good fan base to go along with us this as we do that.

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Eurogamer: You've mentioned that APB is a three-year plan during which you hope to update it much like the first three GTA games progressed. How do you see it changing and evolving over that period? Will it change so significantly that it will be like you have three separate games in that time period?

Dave Jones: Yes, probably. We've often said that we have flexible city technology. Our worlds support 10-15,000 players, but as you've seen, they break down into these districts where we bring a hundred players at a time. It's at that level that we want to try and expand the game. We plan to bring out very different kinds of experiences that run alongside the game we have, as well as bolster the districts that we launched with.

Eurogamer: What kinds of different experiences?

Dave Jones: The next one is the Chaos one. A lot of people said, ‘Why can't you just go out and shoot anybody at any time?' There are lots of interesting comments about it only letting you shoot people who are opposed to you. We did a lot of testing on that and we've tested many configurations, and that's the one we felt initially was the best experience.

Once people understand the game a bit better and have some equipment then opening up a district where it is like that makes it a completely different game. People are in for a shock when they try that, just how much of a different game it is. But of course we've got to put the right mechanics in place to feel like it's got a game structure around it as well.

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Eurogamer: When will Chaos be released?

Dave Jones: That'll be probably before the end of the year. We're working on that just now, and that's something we will announce, but it's not too far away.

Eurogamer: Any other different experiences you can talk about at this stage?

Dave Jones: No, not at this stage. A lot of it was we wanted to get the feedback as well from the launch, from the players; what systems they like, what they want to see more of, what kind of variety do they want to see? Until we have a big player base it's also hard for us to test things. We could test things internally, but we wanted the player base. We have something up and running now called the public test world, which is another world basically, which we've got live.

That's where we put things in to try. That's where we'll try some of this new stuff. We'll say to players, ‘Come and try out these new game modes and tell us what you think'. If we find things are resonating in that - some things will work, some things won't - we'll pull them back into a general release for everybody.

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